Enjoy meeting Sandra? Learn more about her online sewing class, Pant Fitting Techniques.
We had a chance with to chat with Sandra Betzina, instructor of two online Craftsy classes. In this clip, we learn how she got started, how she turned a hobby into a career, and why she loves being a teacher.
I’ve always loved to sew. I really started loving it in high school, and I sewed all through college. But then when I came out of college, I moved to San Francisco, and I just wanted to do something I loved. Everyone was asking me, “Would you teach me to sew?” So I started a sewing school. I ran that for seven years. What really motivated me to make it a career is that I decided I can’t afford ads in the paper. I wanted to put a big ad in the paper, but even back then it was expensive: almost $700. So I got this idea that if I got a column in the paper, a weekly column on sewing, I could name it my business. And that worked great.
So then I also thought (while I was still at the sewing school), “television! If I can get on television on somehow, I can do the same thing.” I didn’t even own a television at the time, but I wrote a letter to the four stations. I said, “people are fed up with watching soap operas. They want to learn something!” And so two of the stations asked me to come down and talk to them, and one of them hired me right away. So I did a weekly morning talk show. There would be people who did exercise who would come on once a week, and I was the sewing person who came on once a week. Television has a life, and they probably got sick of seeing me. So I came home and I thought, “What do I really miss in my life?” And it was teaching people to sew one-on-one. So I thought, okay, I am going to do a week-long class. I used to say to people, “if I could get you for a week, I can get you so hooked on this wonderful thing!” So I started doing what we called sewing weeks, it’s like sewing camp for a week, where you come for seven days. But I limit it to ten people. You can make anything you want, and I love that because I’ve had people make men’s suits, bathing suits, a whole knit wardrobe, a jacket. You can make anything you want, and I will help you. That keeps me from being bored.
I love to see the excitement when somebody really gets it. And I like to teach and tell you one way, and then I can usually look around and can tell if somebody didn’t get it. So I’ll say, “well, let’s think about it this way.” And I will keep doing that until they get it because it doesn’t come natural for everyone. But you can be taught to do it. And another piece of advice I have is for people to just slow down. I think people are in such a rush all the time. This is a great way to slow down and relax.
I think teaching is the best job. The best.